Learn the Signs of Depression to Help Yourself and Others
Depression is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health problems in today’s world. However, just because it is common does not detract from the severity of receiving a diagnosis of clinical depression. If you suspect that you or someone you care for may be suffering from depression, you should familiarize yourself with the warning signs of this illness as well as some of its common treatments.
What are the Warning Signs of Depression?
Everybody has a bad day or two, and it’s okay to feel blue every once in a while. If you feel like your bad moods are starting to take over your life, maybe it is something more than feeling down in the dumps. Many people who suffer from clinical depression aren’t even aware that they are experiencing a mental illness. Some of the most common warning sign of depression include:
- Unalleviated feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Loss of interest in hobbies, activities and socializing
- Feelings of fatigue that don’t improve with rest
- Difficulty controlling thoughts and concentrating
- Changes in mood
- Changes in drinking patterns, drug use or engaging in reckless behavior
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
If you have been experiencing one or more of these symptoms for over a week, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor to talk about your feelings and discuss possible treatments. If you are thinking of hurting yourself, call 911 immediately to access help.
How to Treat Depression
Although this illness is very prevalent in today’s world, there is good news: depression can be successfully and effectively treated with medication and counseling. Antidepressants are drugs that affect certain neurotransmitters within the brain, such as serotonin. Many people experience a decrease in their depressive symptoms within a few weeks of beginning a doctor-approved medication regimen.
Counseling is another important part of beating depression. Discussing certain factors and stresses in your life with a professional can help to diffuse negative feelings that are affecting your state of mental health. The support you’ll receive from your therapist will allow you to form new tools to cope with stress, feelings of depression and help you to learn new ways to re-frame negative thoughts or feelings.